Art

Drawing a new story

There was a buzz in the air and a celebratory mood. On August 15, Independence Day, the metro stations in the city had been swept by sea of people. Amidst such din, an artist sat at the B gate entrance of Chickpet metro station filling in the details in a mural. “These stars are tiny, which is what makes them difficult to do but I want to finish it fast,” says Puia. He came from Mizoram some six years ago to help his family tide over financial troubles.

He was working as a watchman at the construction site of Chickpet Metro Station until Yash Bhandari ,along with some other artists, saw him sketch. “He was doing a realistic sketch of a model in an advertisement. I was struck by its perfection,” recalls Yash Bhandari, an alumnus of Srishti School of Art Design and Technology.

Since then Puia has been working with Yash, and Geethanjali AR on the Bangalore Karaga Project commissioned by BMRCL. “Since he wasn't used to the brush, we didn't ask him to start painting the mural. We began with a lot of exercises. We asked him to draw the people he saw around. There were discussions but he was struggling to draw without a photograph. So we gave him our phones to see images for reference,” adds Puia.

Puia started to hang out with the artists, accompanying women artists at the site, especially in the evenings, as there were lot of men on the construction site. “This way he also started to observe the artists and learnt along the way. When I went back to continue my Karaga project after a long gap, I started engaging with Puia and gradually he joined us on the walls.”

Bangalore Karaga Project traces the journey of karaga from the Dharmaraya Swami Temple till Hazrat Tawakkul Mastan dargah. Karaga is a tradition practised by the Thigala community. A floral pot is carried by a person on his head during the procession.

In a not so expressive way, Puia manages to convey that his life has taken an unexpected turn. He didn’t come to Bengaluru with the slightest idea of pursuing art but then a chance encounter has put him on a different path. “I now want to practise art here. My parents are extremely happy. Whatever I earn from these works, I am sending it home,” says the young artist.

From his training under the artists, exchanges and observations, Puia has gained confidence and flair in the last one year. “My strong point has always been human figures but the good thing is that now I can draw without seeing.”

Yash concurs and adds that Puia’s dedication too works in his favour. “Now I can trust him with an independent work. Earlier I needed to go everyday and speak to him for hours but now I can just leave my work to him blindly. My only concern is that he is happy helping us out which is not good for his growth. I tell him to do his own work - paint and sketch, whenever he gets tired of doing the mural but he is always there at the site,” says Yash, who now plans to get Puia independent projects.


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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 7:06:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/drawing-a-new-story/article24725654.ece

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